History of the Museum

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In 1889 the Miami Station was built and opened by the Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway Company. This railway company was formed with the help of the Manitoba Government in an attempt to break the monopoly of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s control of the freight rates in Western Canada. In 1901, the N.P. & M. collapsed financially and for a short period of time the station and line was operated by the Manitoba Government while a new operator was sought. At the same time, the Red River Valley Railway was in another of its many troubles. In an attempt to solve these problems, the Government leased the operations of the Red River Valley Railway and the Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway to the growing Mackenzie and Mann railway empire—The Canadian Northern Railway. With the acquisition of the lines from the U.S. border to Winnipeg, the Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie lines of the RRVR, and the Morris to Brandon N.P. & M. line, the Canadian Northern Railway gained an independent outlet for its operation rather than acting as a feeder for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Financial difficulties in developing the Canadian Northern gradually grew until; in 1913 the situation demanded that the railway seek urgently needed funds. Money came from the Federal Government. It was insufficient to meet their need and the company tried to raise money in London. The outbreak of the First World War and the freezing of all funds in England quickly brought an end to Canadian Northern and in 1917 the Federal Government took it over under the operating name of “Canadian National Railways”. The Canadian National Railways operated the station until its closure in 1973.

 

In 1974 the station was offered for sale and was subsequently purchased by Midwestern Rail Association. On July 1st, 1975 the Association accepted the key from Mr. A. R. Williams, the vice president of CNR. During the following 12 months with the aid of a Federal Government grant for labour, the association endeavored to convert the building back as closely as possible to its 1889 appearance. The only alterations carried out on the station over the years have been the addition of the entry porch and the pantry area by Canadian National. As there is no record of the early furnishings, it is not possible to fully reproduce the station as when it was first opened for use. Instead of trying to reproduce something that is uncertain, the association has chosen to dedicate the station to all the rural station agents of western Canada and has as far as possible duplicated the atmosphere of a typical rural station.

 

In 1994 Midwestern Rail Association were into their Winnipeg Train Gallery Project and no longer able to maintain the Miami Station. A local non-profit committee took control of the museum and began the job of repairing and reopening the museum. Paint, glass and a new cedar roof later, we were again separated from the elements, but a new foundation was required to maintain the integrity of the building. In 2007 the Miami Railway Station Museum Committee purchased the station and replaced the foundation. The museum hosts art shows, concerts, and is a local landmark in lights at Christmas time. Located on its original site in Miami, it is a symbol for the town and the R.M. of Thompson, as well as being a tourist stop in the Pembina Valley.